Deathstalker: Rebellion: More of the same

Deathstalker: Rebellion by Simon R. Green

This review may contain spoilers for the first DEATHSTALKER book, Deathstalker.

Owen Deathstalker, Hazel d’Ark, Ruby Journey, Jack Random, and assorted others are still plotting rebellion against The Iron Bitch who rules the galactic empire. Everyone in this motley group has a different idea about how a galactic government should work, but they all agree that their empress must go, so they begin by hacking into the empire’s bank account and using the funds to instigate rebellions on a few different planets.

Nobody likes the empress, but she still has loyal supporters who protect her. These people are either too scared to cross her, or they are benefiting financially from their relationship with her. Also, there’s been a recent and credible threat of an alien inv... Read More

Invader: Builds upon the foundation laid by Foreigner

Invader by C.J. Cherryh

While the first book in C. J. Cherryh’s FOREIGNER series, also titled Foreigner, took its time in establishing Bren Cameron’s character and the dilemmas he faced attempting to adapt to a culture entirely foreign to him, Invader wastes no time. Picking up precisely where Foreigner left off, Bren is in the hospital suffering from injuries he sustained in the previous book. Though he goes on the mend, life does not get any easier. The spaceship which suddenly appeared at the end of Foreigner threatens to disrupt the tentative peace which the treaty between the atevi and humans had created.

Pushing the ball up-court, Cherry winds Cameron’s tension even tighter in Invader. As if the aut... Read More

The Serpent’s Shadow: A Snow White and the Seven Dwarves retelling

The Serpent’s Shadow by Mercedes Lackey

The Serpent’s Shadow is the second of Mercedes Lackey’s ELEMENTAL MASTERS novels. These are stand-alone fairytale retellings and this particular one is based on “Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.” The story takes place in London in 1909 and it’s so different from that familiar tale, though, that you may not have recognized its influence if I hadn’t told you, even though the classic elements are here (seven companions, an apple, a magic mirror, poison that puts the heroine to sleep, a kiss).

Like the first ELEMENTAL MASTERS book, The Fire Rose, The Serpent’s Shadow features a strong and likable heroine. Maya is doctor who’s half English and half Indian. Her parents were recently murdered under suspicious circumstances and she has moved to London to get away from whoever may be threatening her family. She must find a way to practice... Read More

The Spiral Labyrinth: Henghis Hapthorn is back

The Spiral Labyrinth by Matthew Hughes

Henghis Hapthorn, who we met in Majestrum, is back. Actually, he’s not really back, he’s forward, because after solving the mystery of the disappearance of a man who went to look at a spaceship for sale, Henghis finds himself in a future Dying Earth where magic has replaced the role of reason in the universe. It seems he’s been drawn there by some malevolent force that wants something from him. In this future Earth, Henghis contends with warring wizards, fire-breathing dragons, and a very nasty luminous fungus. Will he be able to get back to his proper time and place?

Fortunately, Hapthorn is not alone. He has his computer which has turned into an argumentative fruit-eating feline pet, and a sentient sword which is eager to be drawn and brandished at any potential threat. Unfortunately, Henghis’ intuitive alternate psyche, who prefers to be called Osk Rievor, is missing and Henghis,... Read More

Song of the Wanderer: Doesn’t talk down

Song of the Wanderer by Bruce Coville

I have promises to keep, and wounds to heal...

This is the second book in THE UNICORN CHRONICLES, a four part series by children's author Bruce Coville, which also includes a short story to be found in the unicorn-themed anthology A Glory of Unicorns. In the first instalment, Into the Land of the Unicorns, Cara Hunter was transported via an amulet into Luster, the world into which unicorns fled when Earth became too unsafe for them to inhabit. Due to a tragic misunderstanding centuries ago, the Hunter family has made it their legacy to hunt down and destroy all the unicorns. Cara's long-lost father is among them, and so Cara has a very personal stake in her desire to protect the unicorns from all those who wish them harm.

Entrusted with the task of returning to Earth and rescuing her g... Read More

Winter Tides: Not what I expected

Winter Tides by James P. Blaylock

I was disappointed in Winter Tides, though it's probably not fair to blame James P. Blaylock for my disappointment. It's not his fault the cover copy doesn't accurately describe the novel's actual subject matter. It's also not his fault I'm a big enough ballad geek that when I see the words "Anne," "Elinor," "sisters," and "drowning" in the same sentence, I immediately think of "The Cruel Sister," a heartbreaking ballad of love and sisterly betrayal. Between the cover copy and a ballad reference that may or may not have been intentional, I led myself to expect a ghost story and a love story. Here's the cover copy, for what it's worth:
Fifteen years ago, on a deserted California beach, Dave Quinn swam out into the winter ocean to save two drowning girls — identical twin sisters. He was only able to save one. Now, years later, he meets Anne, a struggling artist from Canada. He ha... Read More